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Contextual Analysis of The Two Fridas by Frida Kahlo

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Contextual Analysis of The Two Fridas by Frida Kahlo Essay

Las Dos Fridas, which in English translates to The Two Fridas, was painted by the well-known Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo. The oil painting displays two versions of Frida, her Mexican background and white background, holding hands and connected by a vein. Still to this day, people continue to enjoy Kahlo’s artwork because of how honest she was in her paintings. Frida Kahlo pours her heart into Las Dos Fridas to turn the inner turmoil she was facing with her cultural identity and love life into an oil painting for all to see.

In her painting, Kahlo uses a combination of formal elements and composition to express the significance of the painting. As seen in the painting, the two Fridas are sitting straight up which can represent vertical lines. Vertical lines imply that Frida was yearning the love of her life, Diego Rivera. The indigenous Frida can be seen wearing warm and cool colors such as yellow and blue which make her seem vibrant while the Caucasian Frida’s clothes are neutral colors such as cream and white. The background uses a combination of the colors black, grey and white while the floor is an earthy color. Kahlo uses lighting techniques to add volume to both figures. This makes the Fridas appear more 3-D. The Mexican painter implements linear perspective in her painting with the vanishing point being the unionof their hands.

The Two Fridas represents Kahlo’s internal struggle with her dual heritage. An artery joins her two hearts together, thereby linking the two cultures, which is also represented by her different attire: a traditional Tehuana dress and a European lace dress. The iconography of the hearts, a widely used indigenous symbol, could also represent her endurance of mental and physical pain both as a European and an indigenous woman, therefore symbolising her unavoidable and inevitable suffering. It is her European counter part that cuts the blood vessel in the painting, perhaps a reminder of her numerous surgeries and experiences with abortion but also the death and eventual denial of her European roots. Her indigenous self appears heartbroken (it is painted shortly after her divorce) and is holding a small painting of her ex husband Rivera; the saddened Kahlo gasps the hand of her western self. This display of solidarity demonstrates her ultimate acceptance of her dual heritage, and is perhaps an acknowledgement of the undeniable stain imperial influences have left on her country despite her nationalistic cause.

Most of Kahlo’s artwork is based off of her personal life experiences, “It is often said that Frida Kahlo’s art is her autobiography”. Those who would critique her artwork would say “more obsterical than aesthetic”. Frida Kahlo was inspired to paint Las Dos Fridas following the divorce from Diego Rivera. The way Kahlo would describe Rivera was as “‘her other accident’, because of the turbulent relationship the couple had”.

As stated before, the artist paints her opposing cultural identities. The Caucasian Frida has a fancy dress, perfect posture and no mustache. This Frida conformed to society’s expectations of woman. On the right is the indigenous Frida who is in touch with her Mexican roots. She issitting with both legs spread apart and her back is hunching over. This Frida has no care to please society and lives carefree. In the indigenous Frida’s hand is a picture of Diego Rivera who loved this side of Frida. His picture is connected by a vein toher heart. The same vein connects to her heart that wraps around her bicep. This could mean that the indigenous Frida wears her heart on her sleeve or that her love for Diego is strong like muscle. The Caucasian Frida has a hollow heart which means she isheartbroken while indigenous Frida has a full heart because it is full of love for her ex-husband. The Fridas appear to be bleeding through the end of one side of the veins. Caucasian Frida doesn’t allow the both of them to bleed out by clamping down the vein with a tool.

This painting symbolizes union. The two Fridas hold hands because Kahlo found a way to not only balance out both contrasting parts of her life but to not die from heartbreak. Frida Kahlo is considered a famous surrealist painter. Las Dos Fridas was painted during the beginning of the creation of Surrealism. While Kahlo didn’t consider Las Dos Fridas a surrealist painting, most of her artwork conveyed surrealist styles. Her paintings captured the way Kahlo viewed the world in her eyes. She transferred her subconscious thoughts onto canvases. By observing Frida Kahlo’s paintings, you could tell she was in touch with her emotions. Her disability did not stop her from creating paintings. A canvas became her medium to vent on.

In Las Dos Fridas, Kahlo can paint the inner struggle she was having with her cultural identity and love life. Kahlo continues to capture people’s hearts due to the honesty in her work.

References

  1. Aragón, A. (2014). Uninhabited Dresses: Frida Kahlo, from Icon of Mexico to Fashion Muse. Fashion Theory, 18(5), 517-549.
  2. Courtney, C., O’Hearn, M., & Franck, C. (2017). Frida Kahlo: Portrait of Chronic Pain. Physical Therapy, 97(1), 90.
  3. Pinto, C. (2005). Frida Kahlo. BMJ, 331(7511), 297-297.

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Contextual Analysis Of The Two Fridas By Frida Kahlo. (2022, February 04). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 31, 2023, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/contextual-analysis-of-the-two-fridas-by-frida-kahlo/
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Contextual Analysis Of The Two Fridas By Frida Kahlo [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Feb 04 [cited 2023 Jan 31]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/contextual-analysis-of-the-two-fridas-by-frida-kahlo/
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